What Human Rights do for Speech & Protest - RightsInfo

What Human Rights do for Speech & Protest

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Speech & Protest
1998
Europe

Restrictions on election campaigning must be proportionate

Related European Convention Articles

An anti-abortion campaigner distributed 25,000 campaign leaflets shortly before the 1992 election. She was prosecuted for breaching the spending cap on campaign publications. The court decided that the spending cap was so disproportionate that it violated her right to freedom of expression.

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    Speech & Protest
    1996
    Europe

    Gratuitously offensive imagery is not protected by free speech

    Related European Convention Articles

    A film which involved erotic scenes between Jesus Christ and a nun was banned for breaking the law on blasphemy. This was a lawful restriction. The right to freedom of expression did not apply to gratuitously offensive material concerning religious figures.

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      Speech & Protest
      2012
      Europe

      Offensive anti-gay speech in schools isn’t acceptable

      Related European Convention Articles

      Four students were convicted for distributing homophobic leaflets in a secondary school. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression was not violated.

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      TOP 50
      Speech & Protest
      1996
      Europe

      Journalists can refuse to reveal their confidential sources

      Related European Convention Articles

      A company wanted to force a journalist to reveal a confidential source. The journalist refused and was fined. The journalist won the case, because forcing disclosure would restrict freedom of expression

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        Speech & Protest
        2009
        UK

        The state can’t interfere with peaceful protest with no good reason

        Related European Convention Articles

        An activist group, which had peacefully protested near a nuclear weapons site for more than 20 years, was banned from camping near the site. This violated their right to freedom of expression.

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        TOP 50
        50 Cases
        1976
        Europe

        Offensive ideas need to be protected too

        Related European Convention Articles

        Mr Handyside was prosecuted for publishing "The Little Red Book", which encouraged children to rebel against social norms. The European Court supported the prosecution as protecting public morals but famously emphasised that free speech also applied to offensive ideas.

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          Speech & Protest
          2009
          Europe

          Journalists can refuse to reveal their confidential sources

          Related European Convention Articles

          The FT was ordered to disclose documents identifying confidential journalistic sources to a brewing company. The sources had leaked information about a takeover bid. The FT refused to release the documents, and won their case – their right to freedom of expression was breached.

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            Speech & Protest
            2015
            Europe

            Journalists may secretly film and record other people, if it’s in best interest of the public

            Related European Convention Articles

            Four journalists were convicted for secretly recording and broadcasting an interview with an insurance broker. The conviction violated their right to freedom of expression. There was an overriding public interest in showing the interview, which exposed misleading advice given by insurance companies.

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              Speech & Protest
              2005
              Europe

              Inciting hatred isn’t part of freedom of speech

              Related European Convention Articles

              A British National Party member displayed a poster outside his house containing an inflammatory statement about Islam. He was convicted of a criminal offence. Mr Noorwood argued this breached his free expression rights - his case failed.

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                TOP 50
                Speech & Protest
                1979
                Europe

                Newspapers have freedom to report legal cases if in the public interest

                Related European Convention Articles

                During a legal case about the Thalidomide disaster, the High Court stopped a newspaper from publishing articles in support of the victims. This violated their right to freedom of expression. The significant public interest in the matter outweighed the need to uphold an injunction.

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                  Speech & Protest
                  1994
                  Europe

                  Journalists cannot be punished for disseminating statements made by others

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A journalist was fined for including racist statements made by youths he interviewed for a documentary. The court decided that the journalist's conviction violated his right to freedom of expression.

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                    TOP 50
                    50 Cases
                    1996
                    Europe

                    Journalists’ sources must be protected

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A journalist was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to reveal a whistle-blowing source for a story. It was unfair to punish journalists for doing their job to protect commercial interests. After the judgment, the law was changed to better protect responsible investigative journalism.

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                      TOP 50
                      50 Cases
                      2006
                      UK

                      Police shouldn’t have stopped war protest bus

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      The police stopped coach passengers from reaching the site of an anti-Iraq War demonstration. The protesters' right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was violated. Police shouldn't have assumed they would be violent.

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                        Speech & Protest
                        2014
                        UK

                        Controversial speakers may be denied entry into the UK

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        A dissident Iranian politician appealed the Home Secretary's decision to refuse her entry into the UK. The Home Secretary won the case. Granting entry to the politician would have posed a threat to diplomatic relations between the UK and Iran.

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                          Speech & Protest
                          2000
                          UK

                          People have a right to access information from public bodies

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          The Freedom of Information Act obliges public authorities to publish certain information about their activities. It also permits people to request information from public authorities. However, a public authority may legally refuse to release information for a variety of reasons.

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                          Speech & Protest
                          2002
                          UK

                          Freedom of expression can be restricted for the sake of national security

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          A former intelligence officer was prosecuted for leaking secret documents to the press. He argued that the disclosure was in the public interest. However, the court decided that freedom of expression can be restricted on the grounds of national security.

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                          TOP 50
                          Speech & Protest
                          2006
                          UK

                          Police shouldn’t have stopped war protest bus

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          The police stopped coach passengers from reaching the site of an anti-Iraq War demonstration. The protesters' right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was violated. Police shouldn't have assumed they would be violent.

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                          Speech & Protest
                          2005
                          Europe

                          Excessive McDonalds libel damages breached free speech rights

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          Members of a campaign group were sued for libel by McDonald's. The group had to pay excessive damages to McDonald's. They successfully challenged the decision - their right to freedom of expression was violated.

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                          Speech & Protest
                          2003
                          Europe

                          Campaigners are not necessarily entitled to meet on private property

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          Campaigners were barred from distributing leaflets in a private shopping centre. This did not breach their right to freedom of expression. The campaigners did not have an automatic right to enter private property, nor were their ability to express speech destroyed.

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                            Speech & Protest
                            2011
                            UK

                            Occupy protestors didn’t have the right to occupy private property

                            Related European Convention Articles

                            A group of Occupy activists occupied a building owned by a bank. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression and assembly did not permit them to take over private property. The protestors were subsequently evicted from the premises.

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                            TOP 50
                            50 Cases
                            1999
                            UK

                            Journalists must be able to interview prisoners

                            Related European Convention Articles

                            A blanket ban on journalists publishing interviews with prisoners was a violation of fundamental rights. Journalists must be able to expose miscarriages of justice.

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                            TOP 50
                            50 Cases
                            2012
                            Europe

                            Police can ‘kettle’ demonstrators to keep the peace

                            Related European Convention Articles

                            Four people were kettled (forcefully contained) in a crowd by riot police during a demonstration in Central London. The police's actions were lawful, as their purpose was to prevent an imminent breach of the peace.

                            Speech & Protest
                            2014
                            UK

                            During court proceedings, a person’s identity can be made anonymous

                            Related European Convention Articles

                            The BBC challenged a court's decision to withhold the identity of a convicted sex offender during deportation proceedings. The court said that the BBC's right to freedom of expression was outweighed by its duty to protect the convict from violent attack.

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                              What Human Rights do for Speech & Protest
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